About 15% of the candidates for the coming polls in Punjab have criminal cases registered against them, according to an analysis by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

A closer look at numbers suggests that there are 77 candidates accused of serious crimes — ranging from electoral offences to those against women and those under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Among the 77, four candidates have murder cases against them, 11 face cases related to attempt to murder.

Party-wise, Congress leads the pack, with over 12% of its candidates facing criminal charges. It is closely followed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at 11%, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (11%). Nine per cent of the candidates of the Apna Punjab Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party face similar charges.

About six constituencies have three or more candidates with criminal cases.


Financial background

About 16% of the candidates, or 178 of them, have assets valued at Rs. 5 crore and above. There are 341 of them who have declared assets worth less than Rs. 10 lakh.

Over 90% of the SAD candidates are crorepatis. The Congress (88%), the BJP (87%), the AAP (63%) come at second, third and fourth, respectively.

The average asset worth per candidate is Rs. 3.49 crore.

Rana Gurjit Singh of the Congress, who’s contesting from the Kapurthala constituency, has declared assets of over Rs. 169 crore in his affidavit. Shiv Lal Doda, an Independent candidate from Abohar constituency, has over Rs. 141 crore.

About seven candidates have declared zero assets in their affidavits.


Education and other details

Over 680 candidates, or 60% of the total, have have declared their educational qualification to be between ‘5th pass and 12th pass’, while 365 (32%) have declared themselves to be a graduate or above.

Forty-one per cent of the candidates are unlettered while six have an educational qualification of ‘doctorate’ or above.

In terms of age, there are 35 candidates in the 71-85 age bracket and 454 between 51 years and 70 years.

The biggest disparity is in the number of women candidates, only 81 compared to 1063 men. One candidate has registered under the third gender.

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